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The Undead Visit EIFF

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Pop culture documentary director Alexandre O Philippe visits EIFF this week with his latest UK Premiere. We caught up with him to hear more about his latest feature, Doc of the Dead, and why zombies are having a moment in popular culture – and at the Fest.

Zombies will be taking over Edinburgh this evening ahead of the UK premiere of Alexandre O Philippe’s third film at the Fest in the past 5 years. So is he feeling at home here?

“Oh yes, I feel very much at home. It’s really a wonderful Fest and it’s quite an honour to have 3 films in a row right here! I love everything about the Festival and I think that the programming team is really great. I'm looking forward to the wonderful events.”

The film is one of three zombie-related movies to screen at this year’s Fest, alongside Life After Beth (26 & 27 June) starring Aubrey Plaza and the Japanese horror film Miss Zombie (22 & 28 June).

“There are so many amazing zombie films being made. It’s crazy how many of them are still being made right now,” said Philippe. “Zombies have really gone from a powerful underground culture to the mainstream and only in the past few days, so looking at that shift, to me, was a sign that something had to be done.

“I make a lot of pop culture documentaries so I tend to keep my finger on the pulse of trends. Zombies are trending big time right now, so that was all the incentive I needed to make the film.”

Whether you’re a hardcore fan of the zombie genre, or aren’t so sure about it, you’re certain to find something to love here.

“I try to make my films first for the hardcore fans, but also for the skeptics. I always make the effort to make it accessible," he assures us. "This is definitely something for the zombie fans, and for people who are just wondering 'Why am I seeing zombies on TV all the time?' Hopefully after watching Doc of the Dead they’ll have a better understanding of why.”

The film includes insights from the likes of zombie enthusiast and star Simon Pegg, and the king of the zombie genre himself, Night of the Living Dead director George Romero, are two of the film’s big draws. The film also features the likes of World War Z author Max Brooks, Evil Dead guy Bruce Campbell, and more.

“We were very lucky that we got Simon Pegg and George Romero right off the bat, and that sort of opened the flood gates for everybody else,” said Philippe. “I think it would have been a lot more difficult to make the film without them. If you don’t have George Romero, you don’t have a film about zombies. That’s it.”

Doc of the Dead screens tonight, Saturday 21 June at 8.45pm, and again on Saturday 28 June at 6.15pm.

Want to be a zombie? From 6.30pm – 8pm tonight come down to EIFF’s Festival Hub to learn the tricks to zombie make-up and design. Our experts will help you transform into the undead in time to “zombie-walk” to Cineworld for the UK Premiere screening. See the Film In the City page fore more details.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone on 0131 623 8030 or in person at Filmhouse, Cineworld, Odeon Lothian Road, or Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

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